The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 32, Issue 6, 1976 - 1979

Leukocyte Esterase Strip Test Can Predict Subsequent Failure Following Reimplantation in Patients With Periprosthetic Joint Infection

Kheir, Michael M. et al.
Hip Knee


Leukocyte esterase (LE) strip test is an accurate marker for diagnosing periprosthetic joint infection (PJI). This study aims to determine if LE is a good predictor of persistent infection and/or subsequent failure in patients undergoing reimplantation.


This single-institution study prospectively recruited and retrospectively analyzed 109 patients who underwent two-stage exchange treatment of PJI, from 2009-2016, and had an LE test performed at time of reimplantation. LE results of “2+” were considered positive. Ninety-five patients had 90-day minimum follow-up to assess treatment failure, defined by Delphi criteria. Eighteen patients were excluded due to blood contamination of LE test, resulting in a final cohort of 77 patients (mean follow-up 1.76 years).


Of the final cohort, 19 patients (24.7%) experienced subsequent failure. At reimplantation, LE test was positive in 22.2% of culture-positive and 4.4% of culture-negative cases. The LE test was negative in all patients who had not failed at latest follow-up, yielding sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and AUC of 26.3%, 100%, 100%, 87.5%, and 0.632, respectively; in comparison, MSIS criteria respectively yielded 25.0%, 87.3%, 27.6%, 85.8%, and 0.562 (P = .01 for specificity). Kaplan-Meier curves revealed higher failure rate in patients who had a positive LE test at time of reimplantation (P < .001).


There is a dire need for an accurate diagnostic test to determine optimal timing of reimplantation in patients undergoing surgical treatment for PJI. The current study suggests that a positive LE test may be indicative of persistence of infection and results in a higher rate of subsequent failure.

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